Tokyobling's Blog

Japanese Chestnut

Posted in Nature, Places by tokyobling on September 28, 2012

It is the end of September which in the world of Japanese confectionary and pomiculture (is there really no word in the English language for the cultivation of chestnut trees?) means it is time to start thinking about harvesting and making use of the extraordinarily sweet Japanese Chestnut (Castanea crenata). The trees are quite simply gorgeous, unlike any of the varieties of Castanea that we have in Europe, and the ripe fruits are encased in the sharpest needles you could ever imagine. Being used to our European varieties where the needles are often a bit soft, I learnt with much pain that these Japanese Chestnut are seriously spiky. Fresh they are half a percent fat and loaded with vitamins so quite healthy even as fruits go. Japanese use them for everything from ice-cream to jellies, candies, jams, sweets, roasts and in creams and lotions, and even as a topping on hot rice. I saw these specimen in a lovely garden in the lovely little town of Obuse in Nagano Prefecture, way north of Tokyo. Enjoy!


20 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. mondoglobalworld photography said, on September 28, 2012 at 9:17 am

    Like the shots and the story…


  2. pk1154 said, on September 28, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    Boned, roast duck stuffed with chestnuts, sticky rice and other assorted ingredients. Yummm

    The American Chestnut has been nearly eliminated from its original range by an imported blight, and the last few natural stands of mature American Chestnut trees are in Michigan (at the extreme boundary of where they once occurred). Plantings in the Pacific Northwest (safe so far from Chestnut Blight) prevent extinction, and there projects to develop and replant the forests with a blight resistant American Chestnut. They were known for their sweet nuts and high-quality lumber. I saw enormous old stumps from American Chestnuts when I went to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Some of them still send up shoots.


    • Lara said, on September 30, 2012 at 10:21 am

      Oh you must give me the recipe for Boned,roast duck stuffed with chestnuts ect. Sound delicious!

      If you are interesting in performing arts please go to –


    • pk1154 said, on September 30, 2012 at 11:55 pm

      I should add, I just received the most recent (English translation) edition of よつばと! and in one chapter, she goes with the neighbor girl to gather chestnuts.


    • tokyobling said, on November 16, 2012 at 3:31 am

      Ah yes, another victim of globalization I think. Before I left Europe we had lots of those stories as well. These days I try not to read about it as it makes me depressed.


  3. Timi said, on September 29, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    Hmm, I’m making croissants right now and these little beauties would go well with them for sure (* _ *) whats more they look beautiful 🙂


  4. Lara said, on September 30, 2012 at 10:19 am

    Hi, such an amazing blog! Please can you look at mine and comment, mine I must admit is no where near as flashy as yours, it has no pictures yet however I’m looking for people views. Thanks again! I’m guessing you are from Japan, am I right? Such an amzing country from what I have seen in pictures, would love to go there one day! Bye! My link –
    Also please look at this website it’s amazing too! –


    • tokyobling said, on November 16, 2012 at 3:38 am

      Thank you for the kind comment! (^-^) Good luck with your new blogs!


  5. cutenippon said, on October 1, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    Baskin Robbins in Japan has custnut ice cream. They call it a French name, mount blanc? Sorry if I butchered the spelling. It’s sad the American baskin robbins doesn’t have chestnut ice cream 😦 I really loved it.


    • cutenippon said, on October 1, 2012 at 3:44 pm

      I mean chestnut not custnut. Lol iPhone likes to auto correct words too much.


    • tokyobling said, on November 16, 2012 at 3:41 am

      Indeed they do. モンブラン! (^-^)


  6. Sabine said, on October 1, 2012 at 10:46 pm

    I would love to try some of the foods created with the chestnuts. They sound so wonderful ^^
    I always look forward to the Winter time when there is the big hoard of roasted chestnuts — how I love them so!

    The chestnuts are starting to fall here now too, not as much as usual but it’s getting there. The Japanese Chestnut is really quite beautiful, though, and I’m quite surprised from the look of it that they are spiky.


    • tokyobling said, on November 16, 2012 at 3:45 am

      Yes, they are so different from the chestnuts you find in Europe, or the chestnuts I had to play with as a child. Anyone who can pick chestnut in the forests are lucky I think! (^-^) Here, most chestnut is grown in orchards, to it’s a bit difficult to pick for yourself… (^-^;)


  7. remszi said, on July 24, 2014 at 9:48 am

    A long time has passed since your post, but I’d like to share this 🙂 that in Hungary we also use chestnuts for all kinds of things like in Japan. 🙂 Such as ice cream, cakes and buns, and all kinds of desserts, chestnut flour, etc.. My favorite is a kind of dessert is the chestnut puree (that you need to keep in the fridge), we grate it and top it with whipped cream. yumm


    • tokyobling said, on July 26, 2014 at 7:23 am

      Hungary has a lot of culture still – I hope you manage to keep it despite modernity! I remember once meeting a hungarian old lady in a forest as she was busily picking chestnuts…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: